Personal trainers and health coaches are often hired to help people lose weight, but do they have the right credentials to provide guidance on healthy eating?

Sure, personal trainers and health coaches can help you achieve your goals. But they need to be licensed and certified, and they need to have a solid background in nutrition.

Personal trainers and health coaches can often act as nutrition advisors because of their understanding of the lifestyle, exercise, and nutrition practices of others, which can make them great sources of information in terms of what foods to eat, limits on eating, when to eat, etc. However, it is important to understand that these professionals are not medical experts and cannot provide their own medical advice, or treat medical conditions.. Read more about personal trainers giving nutritional advice and let us know what you think.

Is it legal for non-RD professionals such as personal trainers, health coaches, and other non-RD experts to provide nutritional advise to their clients? You’ll be shocked (and relieved) to learn the following: Yes, to a certain extent. It specifies what you may say and why it is significant.


Fitness is a highly competitive field. It may be perplexing at times.

You may wonder:

What are the requirements for becoming a world-class coach and having a successful and happy career?

How can I get outcomes that really make a difference in my customers’ lives?

If you’ve been following my work, you already know what I believe: even the greatest training program in the world won’t help if the client doesn’t eat correctly.

To put it another way, you must pay attention to exercise, lifestyle, and nutrition in order to assist your customer in changing their physique.

But halt! You’re going to say.

Is it possible to receive nutritional advice?

This is a question I’ve been asked hundreds of times.

Health and fitness professionals are eager to assist their customers eat better, exercise more, and live healthier lives. They also want to know whether they can discuss nutrition with their consumers.

Clients will struggle to reach their weight, body composition, metabolism, and many other health objectives if they do not eat properly.

People, though, are concerned.

Some were informed that discussing food with their customers was not permitted, and that it could even be criminal.

The truth is as follows:

Personal trainers and health coaches CAN discuss their customers’ eating habits.

They may also offer broad recommendations regarding the kind of diets that might help their customers achieve their objectives.

However, there are certain limitations to what personal trainers, health coaches, and other non-dietitians may say about nutrition.

Perhaps even more crucial:

When it comes to nutrition, you must be well-versed on the subject.

Let’s clear up this misunderstanding.

In this post, I’ll explain:

  • What nutrition cannot be done by personal trainers, health coaches, or other non-RD professionals.
  • What nutrition can do for personal trainers, health coaches, and other non-RD professions.
  • Why it’s important to discuss nutrition.

These are the same criteria we teach via certification, an educational program created by a world-class team of physicians, nutritionists, personal trainers, and other highly trained experts.

We hope you found this post useful. It’s essential to note that, regardless of what you do for a profession or where you are in your career, the rules governing the circumstances and services for which a nutrition coach may be certified differ from state to state and are based on the kind of training/diploma and licensing criteria. Check your local laws or consult an attorney to discover what you are allowed to say and do.

There are about 150,000 licensed health and fitness professionals in the United States.

Save up to 30% on the finest nutrition education curriculum in the business.

Learn more about nutrition, the power of coaching, and how to convert your newfound knowledge into a successful coaching practice.

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First, some background information.

Let me tell you about my close buddy Gray Cook, who invented the Functional Motion Screen, before I go into detail (FMS).

Grey was the first to introduce movement studies, remedial exercises, and dynamic mobility training into the fitness industry many years ago.

Movement studies and dynamic mobility exercises were thought to be the exclusive province of physical therapy at the time, and therefore beyond of reach of personal trainers.

Gray then started teaching personal trainers how to use these methods.

The gym owners and management are enraged. The coaches were apprehensive. Physiotherapy organizations sent him letters urging him to resign and threatened him with legal action if he did not.

All of this has been put on hold since movement is at the heart of these workouts, and movement has a place in the gym.

Fear and feudalism have been defeated by education. Movement evaluation, mobility work, and remedial exercises are now regularly included in fitness professionals’ client training sessions.

We may be on the same road as personal trainers, fitness trainers, and nutritionists.

The good news is that the fitness industry has started treating customers as individuals.

The best-trained and most experienced trainers – the leaders – understand that they can’t get the greatest outcomes until they teach the whole person.

Exercise regimens will be far less successful if you don’t address your stress, sleep problems, or nutrition.

Customers have begun to demand dietary recommendations as part of the package.

This is why the finest experts are increasingly dipping their toes into the dietetics seas.

However, you are not alone if you are unsure about what you may and cannot say about food. That is how many people believe.

That, in my opinion, is a positive thing.

It shows you care about your profession, your customers, and you want to make sure you do your job well the first time.

This is my message to you:

You may (and should) discuss nutrition with your customers as long as you follow these rules and keep one thing in mind.

What nutrition should not be done by personal trainers, health coaches, and other non-exercise practitioners

To be clear, unless you have an RD degree, you are not permitted to talk.

Registered dietitians undergo four years of education and hundreds of hours of practice. They are typically educated in a particular area such as pediatric or geriatric nutrition and study physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, and many other scientific areas as part of their training.

The student will be allowed to perform Medical Diet Therapy (MNT) after graduating and passing the admission test, which is the treatment of illnesses (such as diabetes) via customized nutrition and thorough monitoring.

In hospitals and other therapeutic settings, registered dietitians often deal with patients.

You cannot lawfully perform the following if you are not a licensed dietician or physician:

  • Diets or nutritional supplements are prescribed to address medical and clinical problems.
  • Diets are not prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of medical or clinical disorders;
  • to make a medical diagnosis

It is not your duty if a client comes to you as a personal trainer, health coach, or strength trainer and asks you what diet they should follow to manage their diabetes. If you are not an RD, it is MNT and therefore unlawful.

Consider this scenario: You’re a fitness professional with an obese client. They may not recommend a diet to help them lose weight. This is a continuing education course for licensed dietitians and other health professionals. (You may, however, continue to work with and train this customer.) (For instructions, see the section below.)

In the end, it’s better to avoid treatments, prescriptions, and diagnoses (unless you’re a doctor). (Note that giving a food plan is considered an appointment in certain jurisdictions, while behavioral influencing methods are not.)

What non-athletes, personal trainers, and health coaches can do about nutrition

Each state or province has its own set of laws governing what you may call yourself, what advise you can offer, and so on.

However, if you’re a personal trainer, health coach, or strength coach who knows a little bit about nutrition, you can speak to healthy clients about how to eat, exercise, and live better – so yes, you can talk about what foods to consume.

You can:

  • Encourage your clients to consume lean meats and veggies that are high in nutrients.
  • Learn about the advantages of protein, healthy fats, and other macronutrients.
  • Clients may be given recipes or you can demonstrate your culinary abilities.
  • Clients should be informed about evidence-based nutritional supplements that may help them maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Educate them on the fundamentals of healthy nutrition and provide behavioral assistance to help them change their eating patterns;
  • Assist them in selecting the proper foods to consume before and after exercise;
  • Encourage your clients to remain hydrated by encouraging them to drink water.
  • Resources from well-known nutrition groups including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association, and others; and
  • Customers should be able to obtain and comprehend nutrition information in a manner that appeals to them rather than blinds them.

You are not diagnosing health issues or prescribing meals to treat illnesses or their symptoms, as you can see.

In other words, it relies on how you convey nutrition to your consumers. Consider the following examples:

  • Obesity cannot be treated with a diet.
  • You may provide some food suggestions to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • They are unable to diagnose diabetes or recommend a blood sugar-controlling diet.
  • You may share a delicious, high-fiber, slow-digesting meal dish.
  • Fish oil is not recommended for the treatment of knee arthritis.
  • You can show that fish oil helps people exercise safely.

Do you see the distinction?

In most locations, discussing nutrition in general to promote overall performance, health, and well-being objectives is acceptable.

Take note of the quote marks in the preceding sentence: The legal provisions are largely reliant on wording. So, in your marketing and advertising, as well as in your interactions with consumers, make sure you pick your choice wisely.

Furthermore, and this is critical, you must first do your due diligence. Don’t make an educated assumption. To be sure, check with your state or county authorities. Ask a lawyer to clarify the laws and regulations in the nation where you live and work if you are really unsure.

Important note: To speak about nutrition, you must first understand it.

You wouldn’t teach someone how to build a vehicle if you didn’t know how to do it yourself, would you? The same may be said of food.

While you are legally allowed to speak to customers about healthy eating, you should not do so unless you are knowledgeable about the subject.

Before they can speak to customers about meals, trustworthy and respectable experts must be educated and trained.

Professionals that are serious and committed have a realistic and accurate view of their knowledge base. (Or maybe not.) Rather than presuming they know everything, they may put their knowledge to the test against objective, rigorous, empirically based criteria (such as food certification regulations).

What training options are available for health and fitness professionals?

In most countries, the title of nutritionist is only given to individuals who have finished the above-mentioned rigorous training curriculum.

Simultaneously, the word dietician is considerably wider and has no clear meaning; it may refer to someone with a PhD or someone who has just completed a brief refresher course.

While no formal certification is needed to talk about nutrition as a health or fitness expert, it is advisable to seek out a thorough and respected curriculum that includes nutrition science, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, and other relevant subjects.

I also suggest that you search for training programs that are client-centered, based on a holistic approach to healthy living, and that are evaluated and updated on a regular basis utilizing the most recent results from real-world experience and peer-reviewed studies.

Find a curriculum that incorporates coaching methods as well as change psychology. Understanding nutrition science won’t get you very far if you don’t have the fundamental coaching abilities you’ll need to connect with your customers and persuade them to alter their behavior successfully.

Why is it necessary to discuss nutrition?

We spoke about what health and fitness experts can (and can’t) do about nutrition in the previous two chapters.

And, although some individuals like making the regulations more complex, these debates often divert attention away from the fundamental issue:

Something must be done.

For the last 25 years, I’ve worked in the health and fitness business, and I’ve discovered that a knowledgeable and experienced nutrition coach is the missing element in health, fitness, strength training, and rehabilitation.

Professionals who lack excellent nutrition coaching abilities will find it difficult (if not impossible) to assist their customers in achieving their objectives.

Customers lose faith in the business and quit, and their health stagnates or worsens. Coaches lose their enthusiasm, and they consider quitting as well.

Effective nutrition counseling instills confidence and competence in professionals.

They are able to clearly and quickly respond to consumer queries. They can show that they know the topic well and out and can speak authoritatively about it.

Rather than short solutions, they may guide their customers to genuine, visible, and long-term transformation.

Instead than pushing, persuading, or exerting oneself in order to motivate others, they may encourage them to change.

In conclusion:

They are capable of providing excellent service to their clients.

Isn’t it preferable for your customers to receive advise on fitness, diet, and lifestyle from a trustworthy and competent source, advice that takes into consideration the whole picture of their lives?

Over the last 15 years, I’ve worked with over 100,000 clients and discovered that integrating nutrition into your practice may increase your effectiveness by five times.

This entails:

  • Instead of losing 5, I dropped 25 pounds.
  • Instead of 4, 20 points are subtracted from the blood pressure measurement.
  • Instead of 1 inch from the waist, add 5 inches.

With five times less work on your side, you can get five times more engagement, trust, motivation, loyalty, and customer satisfaction.

Every client is unique and has distinct requirements. You can speak to them about nutrition with confidence if you have the appropriate training and coaching abilities.

You may offer recommendations that you think are safe and accurate, ensuring that your clients get the assistance they need.

Finally, whether or not to offer dietary advice is just a small element of a much bigger and more pressing problem for the industry:

Will we start to think of our customers as people whose health and well-being are dependent on exercise, proper diet, stress management, better sleep, and a stronger sense of community?

Or :

Do we keep subjecting our clients to training while ignoring everything else that could make them happy, healthy, and whole?

The health and fitness business, in my opinion, is leaning toward the first choice. Nutritional advice is most helpful and successful when used in this setting.

What should I do next? Some suggestions from

Start here if you’re ready to learn more about nutrition and coaching methods to advance your profession.

1. Know what you’re allowed to say and what you’re not allowed to say legally.

Only registered dietitians and doctors are permitted to offer medical nutrition therapy or to recommend nutrition treatments for the treatment of medical or clinical disorders.

Do not utilize nutritional counseling to diagnose or treat health issues, alleviate symptoms of illnesses, or answer client inquiries about any of these subjects if you do not have one or both of these credentials.

Furthermore, the rules regulating the circumstances and services for which a nutrition coach is certified differ by state/province and are based on the kind of training/diploma and licensing criteria. Check your local laws or consult an attorney to discover what you are allowed to say and do.

So first and foremost, do your homework. To be sure, check with your state or county authorities. Ask a lawyer to clarify the laws and regulations in the nation where you live and work if you are really unsure.

2. Determine what you want to be able to say and why you want to be able to express it.

In the field of nutrition education, there are many options.

  • The courses prepare students to work as a certified dietician, a teacher, or a speaker.
  • General Nutrition Courses (Quality Courses) are for health professionals who wish to speak to their customers about nutrition fundamentals.
  • The natural nutrition certifications are for personal trainers and sports coaches who wish to provide their clients sound nutritional advice to help them perform better.

3. Decide how you’d want to study.

When looking for programs, there are a few questions to consider.

  • Is it better for me to take the course at home or in a school?
  • Is there a certain time of day that I should study?
  • Is there a time limit or may I complete the course at my leisure?
  • Do you want me to rehearse real-world job situations with the client?

4. Coaching and psychology are intertwined.

If you want to assist your customers overcome their dietary issues, you’ll need to understand change psychology. What people eat is deeply entrenched, and changing what they eat may be sluggish and difficult if you don’t understand what motivates your consumers.

5. Look for a mentor.

You’ll need to locate the appropriate mentor if you want to build a long-term coaching profession and company.

A excellent mentor offers you a viewpoint you don’t have (or can’t have), so you can stay confident and motivated even when things become difficult.

If you’re a trainer or wish to be one,

It’s both an art and a science to educate customers, patients, friends, and family members to eat healthily and adjust their lifestyles to their bodies, preferences, and situations.

Consider Level 1 certification if you want to learn more about both.

The big question for personal trainers and health coaches is whether they can give nutrition advice. After all, personal trainers and health coaches are trained to work with people to improve physical fitness, but aren’t trained to help physical fitness issues like weight management. That’s why the answer is a qualified yes.. Read more about how to give nutritional advice legally and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I give nutritional advice as a personal trainer?

Yes, you can give nutritional advice as a personal trainer.

Do coaches give reliable nutrition advice should coaches give nutrition advice?

Yes, coaches give reliable nutrition advice.

Can personal trainers give nutrition advice UK?

Yes, personal trainers can give nutrition advice.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • personal trainers giving nutritional advice
  • how to give nutritional advice legally
  • can personal trainers give meal plans
  • personal trainer nutrition guide
  • personal trainer nutrition advice should not include
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